Palmistry is the art of characterization and foretelling the future through the study of the palm, also known as palm reading, or chirology. The practice is found all over the world, with numerous cultural variations. Those who practice chiromancy are generally called palmists, palm readers, hand readers, hand analysts, or chirologists. It is believed that Palmistry originated in India with its roots in Hindu Astrology (known in Sanskrit as Jyotish ज्योतिष), Chinese Yijing (I Ching), and Roma (Gypsy) fortune tellers. The Hindu sage Valmiki is thought to have written a book several thousand years ago, whose title translates in English as "The Teachings of Valmiki Maharshi on Male Palmistry", comprising 567 stanzas. Renowned palmist Cheiro (कीरो) learnt palmistry in India where he is believed to have read ancient scriptures on palmistry. From India, the art of palmistry spread to China, Tibet, Egypt, Persia and to other countries in Europe. From China, palmistry progressed to Greece where Anaxagoras practiced it. Aristotle (384–322 B.C.E.) discovered a treatise on the subject of palmistry on an altar of Hermes, which he then presented to Alexander the Great (356–323 B.C.E.), who took great interest in examining the character of his officers by analyzing the lines on their hands. Aristotle stated that "Lines are not written into the human hand without reason. They emanate from heavenly influences and man's own individuality." Accordingly, Aristotle, Hippocrates and Alexander the Great popularized the laws and practice of palmistry. Hippocrates sought to use palmistry to aid his clinical procedures. Modern palmists often combine traditional predictive techniques with psychology, holistic healing, as well as alternative methods of divination.

According to traditional palmistry, the left hand is seen for women and the right hand for men. In palmistry, seven major lines are studied. They are the life line, head line, heart line, line of sun, fate line, health line and the marriage line. In addition, there are several other secondary lines. According to palmistry, all these lines, whether minor or major, thin or thick influence life in one way or the other. It is often believed that the clear lines represent success; whereas, the indistinct lines stand for worse events in life.

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